People walk by a TV screen showing a local news program reporting with an image of U.S. President Donald Trump at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea.

Credit: Lee Jin-man/AP

Trump's North Korea Comments Leave Little Room For Error

August 9, 2017

When President Donald Trump threatened to unleash “fire and fury” on North Korea if the country continued to threaten the U.S., the world tensed up, waiting for the worst.

North Korea responded by announcing it is considering a strike on the U.S. territory of Guam, but the long-term consequences of the president’s threats have yet to be seen.

National security expert Juliette Kayyem joined Boston Public Radio to talk about what the latest tensions between North Korea and the U.S. mean for global security.

“What President Trump did is, he just increased the likelihood for mistake, misunderstanding and error,” she said. “A good president would have some give in the system.”

Kayyem said Trump should have spoken in a less inflammatory manner and allowed multiple options for the two countries.

“You have to be concerned that other nations, not just North Korea, will interpret that in ways that maybe he didn’t mean it to be interpreted in, and you get mistake, error and misunderstanding,” she said. “Those are things that we should be worried about.”

Kayyem also said the mixed messages from the Trump administration further muddy the waters.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said the U.S. was hoping for a regime change in Pyongyang while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the opposite. Rumors have also swirled about National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster opposing Steve Bannon on the next steps with North Korea.

“There is no unified message,” Kayyem said. “Dream on that you’re going to get the unified message.”

Juliette Kayyem is a national security analyst. She’s the host of the SCIF podcast, founder of Kayyem Solutions and a contributor to CNN and WGBH. To hear her interview in its entirety, click on the audio player above.

 


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